Caroline Stanbury, chief executive at Gift-library.com, speaks to Retail Week about her life working in retail.
What was your first job in retailing?
Working in my parent’s cashmere shop, Elizabeth Stanbury Cashmere in London.
Which retail company do you admire most and why?
I adore Matches.com - its fashion buying is exquisitely chosen, the commercial website is excellent and the sheer growth of its business over the years is impressive.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
My ego. I’ll cut off my nose to spite my face to prove someone else wrong.
Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?
It has been down to trial and error rather than someone guiding me. I learnt the ropes one step at a time through my own mistakes.
What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?
It’s a long, hard road. It’s vital to make your point of difference when launching yourself into the retail industry. You must stand out from the crowd in everything you do.
What keeps you awake at night?
The future and fear of the unknown - where I’m going to be with my business and if we’ll continue to thrive.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Seeing the amazing team of employees I have gathered around me. The rate we have managed to grow at since
our humble beginnings often astounds me.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Buying The Wedding Shop this summer was one of my proudest moments.
What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?
I would have been a stylist. I’ve always worked for myself and couldn’t imagine working for anybody else - I think I’d be terrible at it.
What’s your favourite shop and why?
Montaigne Market in Paris is one of my favourite boutiques. Its clothes are always at the top of my wish list - I want everything.